GB News launch: meet the presenters and hosts of the new TV channel
Is this the future of news – or nothing to report? We’ll find out at 8pm on Sunday June 13, when the much-discussed alternative channel GB News launches on Freeview (and is available to view on Sky, Virgin Media, Freesat and YouView).
The channel has bagged some big names, such as Andrew Neil and Alastair Stewart, along with former Labour MP Gloria De Piero, and is billed as the antidote to the BBC, ITV and Sky News – or, according to some, a British Fox News. Here’s your guide to the launch presenters.
The veteran journalist and broadcaster, best known for BBC shows Sunday Politics, This Week and The Andrew Neil Show, is star billing and also the chairman of GB News. He’s certainly not afraid of voicing a controversial opinion; in the past, he was a strong advocate for the war in Iraq, and has invited climate change deniers onto his shows.
Neil brings real heft to this new venture – and, by the sound of it, is looking forward to letting loose. His new hourlong evening show will include a segment called “Woke Watch”, so expect cancel culture to get a grilling. Ditto the rest of the industry via another segment, “Media Watch.”
The Sun’s former executive editor, currently a columnist for the Mailonline, is infamous for his showbiz gossip – which has seen him accused of bullying celebrities. He was roundly criticised for his coverage of Charlie Sheen’s HIV status (which included a Sun front page with the headline “Hollywood HIV Panic”), and he was named in the lawsuit that Johnny Depp brought against News Group Newspapers.
For GB News, he’ll present the three-hour Tonight Live With Dan Wootton five nights a week, covering news and hosting interviews and debates – as well as, apparently, bringing us “tomorrow’s news tonight”. If the channel succeeds, it will be a major platform for Wootton.
The sports broadcaster and model comes to GB News from Soccer Aid. She previously presented Sky Sports News, and has dabbled in entertainment, too, co-hosting the Gladiators reboot with Ian Wright. Her high-profile exes include Laurence Fox and Rio Ferdinand.
But, other than guest presenting Lorraine’s ITV show, she has less experience with morning shows, which makes her an interesting choice for GB’s flagship Great British Breakfast – where she’ll be joined by Rosie Wright, Darren McCaffrey, Nana Akua, Rebecca Hutson, and Inaya Folarin Iman. Can they challenge the likes of Dan Walker, Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty?
Gloria De Piero
De Piero, originally from Bradford, was elected to represent the Nottinghamshire constituency of Ashfield in 2010. She was in both Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinets, but resigned from the former in 2016, believing Corbyn could not secure an election victory. She voted Remain in the EU referendum, and then, in 2019, voted for the Norway-plus version of Brexit. Later that year, she quit politics, citing a “lack of tolerance for different viewpoints in the Labour Party.”
De Piero has experience in broadcasting: before her time as an MP, she was political editor of GMB, and she had a stint on Times Radio. She’ll now co-host a lunchtime/early afternoon show with economist and Sunday Telegraph journalist Liam Halligan, examining the prevailing news and “discussions”.
The experienced journalist was a BBC News favourite, frequently going viral for his reactions to lighter stories like the royal baby announcement or a man playing the piano for monkeys – as well as for accidentally picking up a pack of printer paper instead of his iPad. Previously, he was the royal correspondent for Sky, presented the channel’s topical Tonight programme, and co-anchored coverage of the Iraq War. He’s dating former Dynasty actress Emma Samms.
McCoy is switching it up again for GB News, hosting an afternoon show with Alexandra Phillips – the Brexit Party MEP for South East England 2019-20, and former head of media for UKIP. The show will reportedly have “lively, engaging conversation” about buzzy issues. For McCoy’s sake, let’s hope that doesn’t involve royal births…
Britain’s longest-serving news anchor left ITV last year, after accusations of racism following a Twitter exchange in which he used the phrase “angry ape” when quoting Shakespeare play Measure for Measure (Stewart denied that there was any racial motive behind the tweet). He later told the Sunday Telegraph that he still had experience to offer, and that GB News was an opportunity to “broaden the spectrum, challenge the groupthink and shift away from a predictable agenda in news and debate.”
Now, he will anchor new weekend show Alastair Stewart and Friends, billed as featuring conversation and current affairs analysis.
Dubbed “the silent assassin” while competing on the second season of The Apprentice – which she went on to win – Dewberry subsequently had a stab at politics, running as an independent pro-Brexit candidate in the 2017 general election, in her home constituency of Hull West and Hessle. She came fourth, with just 5.5 per cent of the vote. She fared slightly better in the 2019 election, running for the Brexit Party, this time landing third with 18 per cent.
Dewberry also became a media personality talking about issues like mental health and the country’s north-south divide. Now, she’s landed an evening show on GB News, Dewbs & Co, which aims to make the most of her “straight-talking” reputation. Apparently, she will be delivering her “individual take” on the day’s news.
GB News poached journalist Brazier from Sky, where he worked for 23 years, presenting programmes like Sky News Today and Saturday Live. To some acclaim: in 2016, was Bafta nominated, and scooped an International Emmy Award, for his coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis.
But there have been controversies, too, as when he tampered with the contents of luggage belonging to one of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash (he admitted to having made “a serious error of judgement”). He also wrote a hotly debated book advocating for larger families. On GB News, he’s co-hosting a show with Mercy Muroki, who was on the government commission that concluded Britain is not institutionally racist.
The archaeologist and conservationist is best known for his BBC documentaries, such as A History of Scotland, Vikings and Coast. He was president of the National Trust for Scotland from 2017-2020, when he stepped down from his post so he could speak freely on issues like Scottish Independence (he’s pro-Union) and defending JK Rowling.
Oliver’s coastal wanderings have led him to the wilds of GB News, where he’ll host a weekly current affairs and interview programme, Neil Oliver Live, featuring people from all walks of life “who make Britain great”. Oliver said: “Debate in this country has been stifled for so long that GB News feels like opening a window and letting in some fresh air, fresh perspectives and fresh voices.”
The Northern Irish comedian, Spiked columnist and political satirist skews left wing: he was previously a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. But he’s also a fierce critic of “woke culture”, mocking it via a parody Twitter account he created for the fictional Titania McGrath – “a militant vegan who thinks she is a better poet than William Shakespeare.” Doyle published two books in McGrath’s voice.
A determined defender of free speech, Doyle will host weekly current affairs show Free Speech Nation, described as “a fearless filleting of the country’s thorniest debates.” It will feature a variety of guests.